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European Railroad Discussion > At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival

Date: 05/20/23 03:14
At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: 86235

As many of you will know the Severn valley Railway is one of Britain's most well established heritage railways, running for 16 miles between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth along the River Severn, in England's West Midlands. But like many heritage operations the recent past - what with Covid, the impact of Brexit on staffing and visitor numbers, war in Ukraine and the spike in material costs - has had a severe impact on their bottom line, so much so that they are appealing for $1.8 million to keep the railway afloat. So I thought I should support their efforts, and bought a ticket for day two (Friday) of the four day 2023 Spring Diesel Festival. After a decent day weather-wise on Thursday Friday promised mixed fortunes, as it proved. These are just some of the varying vintage (and relatively modern) motive power I saw.

1: Great Western sent one of their Castle Class HST sets, with 43188 Newport Castle / The Welshman - Y Cymro and 43186 Taunton Castle, it operate a Kidderminster to Arley shuttle, here approaching Arley.
2: A pair of English Electric class 20s crossing the Victoria Bridge over the River Severn between Bewdley and Arley. 20189 wears conventional rail blue whilst 20142 is painted in ersatz London Transport / Metropolitan Railway maroon. Personally I think it looks ridiculous.
3: 31466 is a Brush / English Electric class 31, a low-medium power A1A-A1A which was both numerous and long lived. Indeed there remains at least one class 31 still registered for mainline work. Originally powered by a Mirrlees engine, cylinder head problems and BR's desire to reduce maintenance costs led to the entire class of 260 being re-engined with the same basic power unit from the class 37 - an English Electric 12SVT. It was down-rated to match the existing electrical system, which probably explains why the 31s lasted so long.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/23 01:31 by 86235.

Date: 05/20/23 03:22
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: 86235

4: One of the Severn Valley's historic passenger cars, an LNER Gresley designed 1935 teak bodied open third. This was a typical general service LNER passenger car of the time. The SVR along with other early heritage operations was able to acquire a number of ex-GWR, LNER and LMS stock which was still in service, or had just been withdrawn. 
5: At Arley Station Locomotive Services Ltd's 47712 Lady Diana Spencer in Scotrail livery with their Scotrail push-pull Mk3 set. It was shuttling between Kidderminster and Highley and was awaiting the arrival of the 11:30 ex-Kidderminster
6: And here is the 11:30 with 37263

Date: 05/20/23 03:36
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: 86235

7: The next train into Arley was the 11:30 from Bridgnorth behind D1015 Western Champion. The Class 52 Westerns were the peak of BR Western Region's flirtation with diesel hydraulic power. I think they are a very good example of 1960s industrial design, but their lives were cut short by the desire of corporate BR to concentrate on diesel electric power, and by their lack of ETH (HEP).
8: In a way this is a shot of victor and vanquished. The HSTs were introduced to the Western Region in 1976, revolutionising travel to Bristol, South Wales and the West Country and dooming most of the loco hauled services. Those that remained were handled by class 47s and class 50s, the latter newly displaced from Anglo-Scottish services by the extension of electrification to Glasgow in 1975. There was no room in the new world for the class 52s. The last Western was withdrawn in 1977. 
9: Next service to Bridgnorth through Arley was another diesel hydraulic, this time one of the class 42 Warships, in this case D821 Greyhound on the LNER set. The Warships lasted even less time than the Westerns, again the lack of both air-brake capability and ETH doomed them as more and more air braked, air conditioned stock came into service. as well as their non-standard status.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/23 11:39 by 86235.

Date: 05/20/23 03:50
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: 86235

10: I moved on to Highley where the SVR has built a visitor centre where you can see a display of locomotives awaiting overhaul and other pieces of rolling stock as well as a cafe and a viewing terrace. 33108 is in what was nicknamed Dutch livery (it was similar to that used by NS at the time), in fact it was applied to locos allocated to MoW activities (although they often appeared on general freight traffic). The class 33 was a very versatile piece of kit, a 1550 hp medium powered locomotive, initially allocated to the Southern Region (hence the two digit headcode) they did spread their wings, to South Wales and along the Welsh Marches, but essentially remained a Southern loco. Powered by an eight cylinder Sulzer 8LDA28 with Crompton-Parkinson traction motors (hence their nickname - Cromptons). They were essentially a more powerful version of the class 26 & class 27, the power upgrade achieved by removing the steam heating boiler (Southern rolling stock was electrically heated) and dropping an eight cylinder engine in for the previous six cylinder motor (a 6LDA28).
11: One of the historic LMS coaches, this is a 1946 build corridor third.
12: At last the weather was brightening and the rain was heading east, 31270 Athena in rather work stained 1980s Regional Railways livery on the 13:30 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/23 03:33 by 86235.

Date: 05/20/23 03:59
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: 86235

13: Possibly the most extraordinary sight yesterday, a pair of 1920s GWR bow ended passenger coaches being hauled by D8568, the only surviving class 17 Clayton. 117 of these ill starred engines were built in the early 1960s by the Clayton Equipment Company and Beyer Peacock. Powered by a pair of flat Paxman engines, originally designed for railcar use, they had a number of weaknesses. The Paxman motor was unreliable, they were under powered for mainline use (just 900 hp) and the freight services for which they were designed were rapidly disappearing. This one was sold to a cement company in 1971, which is how it survived. The remainder were all withdrawn in the early 1970s after less than 10 years service, a terrible investment by BR.
14: D821 returning to Kidderminster past Eardington on the 15:30 ex-Bridgnorth
15: Final shot is of the Clayton arriving in Hampton Loade station on its shuttle from Bridgnorth.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/23 01:32 by 86235.

Date: 05/20/23 12:55
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: dwatry

Sorry to hear about their financial woes.  But they certainly seem to somehow have been able to maintain a fresh-looking diversity of power!   Nice shots!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/23 12:55 by dwatry.

Date: 05/20/23 13:24
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: NMlurker

Amazing variety and nice shots even in the gloomy weather.

Date: 05/21/23 15:37
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: krm152

An absolutely remarkable photo series in all respects.
My favorite locomotive is the Class 37.
Thanks for your awesome posting.

Date: 05/23/23 12:01
Re: At the Severn Valley Railway's Spring Diesel Festival
Author: Peak45068

I flew over to the UK on a whisper that Class 45 ‘Peak’ 45108 would be working at the Gala. Alas it didn’t happen. I went to the East Lancs Railway instead and relaxed behind Class 25 ‘rat’ 25279.

Class 42 ‘warship’ D821 will be working at the Severn Valley on Monday 29th May though, so I’m going to get a ride on that railway after all.

I’m currently with the wife in Liverpool in the Cavern Club (Beatles), then leaping up to the South Lakes to visit the Beatrix Potter museum.

Englishman in America

(currently in England)

Posted from iPhone

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